Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What Makes Christ Different

One thing I hear a fair amount when talking to people on campus about Jesus is something to the effect of:

"He's a great guy, great moral teachings, and certainly 'divine' in that sense, but I just don't buy the whole dying for sins thing."

In essence, they think Jesus was the original Mr. Rogers. The problem is that there have been many Mr. Rogers' throughout history, some religious figures and some not. This demands that there be something unique about Jesus or otherwise there is no reason to follow him instead of Buddha, Ghandi, or Ben Franklin. A couple quotes I have read so far do a great job, I think, of arguing that the Mr. Rogers Theory of Jesus is logically unsound:

"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour?' No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour [of the crucifixion]. Father, glorify your name!" -John 12:27-28, quoted on page 34

"You do not understand Christ till you understand his cross." -P.T. Forsyth, quoted on page 48

"They wished to commemorate as central to their understanding of Jesus neither his birth nor his youth, neither his teaching nor his service, neither his resurrection nor his reign, nor his gift of the Spirit, but his death, his crucifixion" (27).

I like how the book points out that the cross makes Jesus unique. Now what that cross means is up for discussion and opinion, but the cross demands that we cannot say Jesus was just another Mr. Rogers.

If nothing else, his three hours on the cross were anything but a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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